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Siebenwirth, Christian; Greubel, Christoph; Drexler, Guido A.; Reindl, Judith; Walsh, Dietrich W. M.; Schwarz, Benjamin; Sammer, Matthias; Baur, Iris; Pospiech, Helmut; Schmid, Thomas E.; Dollinger, Guenther; Friedl, Anna A. (2019): Local inhibition of rRNA transcription without nucleolar segregation after targeted ion irradiation of the nucleolus. In: Journal of Cell Science, Vol. 132, No. 19, UNSP jcs232181
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Abstract

Nucleoli have attracted interest for their role as cellular stress sensors and as potential targets for cancer treatment. The effect of DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) in nucleoli on rRNA transcription and nucleolar organisation appears to depend on the agent used to introduce DSBs, DSB frequency and the presence (or not) of DSBs outside the nucleoli. To address the controversy, we targeted nucleoli with carbon ions at the ion microbeam SNAKE. Localized ion irradiation with 1-100 carbon ions per point (about 0.3-30 Gy per nucleus) did not lead to overall reduced ribonucleotide incorporation in the targeted nucleolus or other nucleoli of the same cell. However, both 5-ethynyluridine incorporation and Parp1 protein levels were locally decreased at the damaged nucleolar chromatin regions marked by gamma H2AX, suggesting localized inhibition of rRNA transcription. This locally restricted transcriptional inhibition was not accompanied by nucleolar segregation, a structural reorganisation observed after inhibition of rRNA transcription by treatment with actinomycin D or UV irradiation. The presented data indicate that even multiple complex DSBs do not lead to a pan-nucleolar response if they affect only a subnucleolar region.